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Emirates Arena thriller pits British rivals in race for record

A BRITISH record that has stood for almost three decades could topple this weekend in what is gearing up to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller as Dai Greene and Andrew Osagie battle it out in a rare 600m at the British Athletics International Match in Glasgow.

Greene, 26, the world 400m hurdles champion, and Osagie, 24, who ran an lifetime best in the 800m final at the 2012 Olympics, have both set their sights on finishing on top, with the added incentive of attempting to usurp Ikem Billy's 28-year-old British indoor 600m record of 1:17.6.

Their main challenge will come from America's Duane Solomon, who finished fourth in the 800m at the Olympic Games and ran a blistering 1:16.42 over 600m last year. Russia's Ivan Tukhtachev posted a 1:16.80 600m indoors in 2011.

"We are probably both capable of getting it, but there are another couple of guys in the race who are too," said Greene. "It will be interesting to see how the race pans out in the early stages. I certainly have a tactic in mind. I reckon there are a number of people who can go faster than that [record] on the day."

Osagie, meanwhile, admitted he didn't even know Billy's 600m record existed until he found out earlier this week through Twitter. "It's one of those things I would love to have, but it wasn't the aim coming into this, I think definitely both Dai and I are capable of doing that time. There are two other people in the race who have eclipsed that time already," he said.

"It's going to be a competitive race. I don't think any of us would be down as a complete favourite because it's indoors and anything could happen. We will have to see how people's tactics play out."

For Greene it will be his first 600m appearance in almost seven years, while Osagie has never run indoors over that distance as it is one seldom contested on the elite circuit these days.

The pair jokingly played down the suggestion that whoever emerges triumphant will claim bragging rights for their respective sprint and endurance athletics camps.

"It will be a bit of fun," said Greene. "I don't think any of us will go home crying because we have lost. It will be a good bit of healthy fun and a very competitive race. We'll both be doing our best to win."

Osagie added: "The beauty of this event is the fact that it is in the middle and can't be predicted. I don't feel there is the weight of the endurance team on my shoulders – or the sprint team on Dai's. It's going to be a good race."

For Greene, it will allow him to stamp his mark on a new year and finally begin to move past the heartache of missing out on a medal in the Olympic Games. While unfalteringly polite, his weariness at the seemingly endless post-mortem of London 2012 where he finished fourth in the 400m hurdles final, is palpable.

"I didn't think beyond London. Everything was geared towards that and trying to do the best I could. It was strange afterwards," he said. "In the short term I was disappointed, but I sat down with Malcolm [Arnold, his coach] and looked back on everything. In the end, we felt we deserved a pat on the back for what we achieved.

"We set our standards very high, which I don't regret doing, but we just came up slightly short. If I had the chance to do it again I would apply myself in exactly the same way. I felt we tried our best and that's all you can ask in that situation."

He added: "As time has gone by I have stopped giving myself a hard time and feeling I let myself down or not achieved something. I have realised that what we did achieve was pretty special given the circumstances. Now I'm fit and healthy things will come a lot easier and hopefully the success will come back."

This weekend Greene will represent a Commonwealth Select team, while Osagie will race in Great Britain and Northern Ireland colours in the match against USA, Germany and Russia.

The 5000 ticket sell-out at the Emirates Arena will see a clutch of Scots compete including hurdler Eilidh Child in the 400m flat, Lee McConnell in the 200m and Lynsey Sharp in the 800m.

Paralympic medallists, Libby Clegg and Stefanie Reid, will contest the 60m and long jump respectively. High jumper Allan Smith, who set a Scottish native record of 2.22m last week, is also among the confirmed line-up.

n The British Athletics International Match will be shown live on Saturday, BBC1, 1.30pm-4.30pm

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